Summer was a distant memory at Warley Moor on Sunday with air temperatures touching single figures and wind speed well into double. A combination of lack of enthusiasm and Covid-19 restrictions meant that no dinghies took to the water whilst several (six or seven?) windsurfers zipped up and down the reservoir. The picture below (tardily taken by your correspondent) shows the remaining two windsurfers (warming up) and a hardy dinghy crew busy with boat work.
With buddy sailing for dinghies now extended, dinghy racing (in the form of pursuit) will continue until the end of November. Hope to see some of you at the reservoir before the season ends.
Unfortunately this week the Met Office forecast was pretty much spot-on, ensuring that Sprints and sailboards kept well away from the Club. The turbine blades did finally manage to summon up enough energy to start turning as the first race began, but they gave up the ghost as the second drifted, somnolently, towards dusk.
Sorry, but I have to say that I and the audience felt badly let down by the lot of you this week, although we did have more spectators than they had at Ashton Gate and Wembley combined…. After last week’s incident-packed session there was so little action on the water that the only place to look for inspiration was in the boat workshop where an increasingly stressed William Redman could be found, manfully struggling to connect some electrical cables to the water pipes. As sailors departed there was only the faint gloom of an LED head torch to reveal his existence, and who knows, come Sunday he may still be there.
Tim Holden kindly ran the racing assisted by his collie to help round up the stragglers, a total of 7 dinghies taking part including George in his new-to-him Magno that showed a nifty turn of speed upwind, and a couple of Mirrors that headed the fleet for a few brief, but no doubt exhilarating, moments – the joy of pursuit racing – but winners were Your Correspondent’s Supernova in the first, and Kevin Holmes’s Streaker in the second. Highlights on the water were Kevin H & Henry G both touching No 2 (and dutifully doing turns) whilst Your Correspondent finally managed to break his habit of hitting No 6, but purely because it wasn’t a course mark this week.
Let’s hope that the most exciting thing next weekend will not be the end of BST, although that does mean that racing will have to start promptly (at 1300) if we are to finish before darkness falls. See you all then for what is currently forecast to be a cold and lively session.
As the group of avid sailors sat near the picnic table but far from each other, enjoying unseasonably warm weather, “Jeremiah” Holmes reminded us that we have just 7 more Sundays left to enjoy before the snow comes. And of course the usual complaints returned, as whenever the water is full-to-overflowing – about the lack of rigging space! And where does all that loose timber washing onto the shore come from anyway, and how old is it? How many thousands of years is it since there were trees on Warley Moor? And where are the geese? Or more importantly where is the goose-poo? Perhaps that isn’t timber after all…
With a near-constant backdrop of whining 2-stroke engines from the quarry and from the moor itself almost a dozen craft took to the water. Duncan Bladon’s windsurfing session was always a little ambitious although the wind did pick up a little, while Dave Walker’s experience in the second race was very frustrating for him: having kindly offered to OD for the first session he sailed the second race (thanks to Kevin Brennan standing in), but by the time DW actually hit the start line the wind had died, and his success of the previous week – mistakenly understated by Your Correspondent – was not to be repeated. In that race Jeremiah was well beyond the reach of William Redman’s Radial, after William had romped home in the first session with no-one even within hailing distance. And welcome to yet another Kevin – Kevin Rivett – our newcomer via Perth (no the other one, Down Under) sailing his Mirror dinghy whose presence in the second race was influential in the result. Based on the pursuit handicap “bible” the Mirror’s starting slot is in a different time zone…
Oh, and I almost overlooked the real highlights. Two excellent contenders were impossible to separate so Own-Goal of the Day (O’GOD) is shared. In the delightful moderate wind under clear blue skies our much-loved HonSec eventually worked out the correct way to round No 6, at the third attempt, whilst Jeremiah Holmes demonstrated, in front of the largest crowd of the year so far, why only youth sailors attempt reach the pontoon via the foredeck. A swallow dive that would have graced Ninja Warrior UK (ITV: Saturday 4pm)!
Come along next week: who knows what fun may be had!
With a promising forecast – cool but a comfortable base wind and reasonable gusts – it was surprising not to see windsurfers at the Club, although only 1 Dart was man enough to take to the water for the afternoon pursuit races, along with 4 single handers. William Redman set a broad figure-of-eight course starting from the water at No2, where the north-easterly was gathering good pace and kicking up a few waves. Despite a 6 minute handicap Dave Walker had plenty of time to overhaul the dinghies, and as the 30 minutes signal sounded had lapped all but 2, assisted in Kevin Brennan’s case when he managed to lose his way. For the second race the wind shifted slightly northwards and eased a little, benefiting the dinghies this time, although the ever-consistent Kevin B again took a wrong course approaching the penultimate mark – perhaps it’s dis-numeracy? – but as the whistle sounded there were 3 dinghies within 6 boat lengths (socially-distanced, of course), Kevin Holmes just keeping Your Correspondent at bay. Obviously the promised backhander to the OOD wasn’t quite enough to encourage him to extend the race by another minute! This time Dave Walker could only look on from afar, a long way behind.
A good afternoon’s workout under bright skies for racers and for the handful of leisure sailors which included a couple of new members keen to become involved, as well as the hardy kayakers.
With a similar forecast for Sunday why not come along and join in the fun?
Around a dozen members came up to Warley Moor on Sunday in the unexpected early autumn sunshine in order to discuss health and welfare, and the current social and political situation, all at a safe distance of course. Some of them even broke off to rig dinghies and sailboards, or to paddle kayaks, before Dave Walker (thank you!) stepped up to set a course for a couple of pursuit races. Finally we have a racing system that puts the Streaker on a sensible handicap relative to the remainder of the fleet, although in his defence Kevin Brennan did also have to cope with a failed cunningham control which might have contributed to his performance. No such problems for Henry Goodman in his Laser, who romped away with a win in the first race as Your Correspondent (Twice! – You’d think he’d learn!) fell foul of an over-long mooring line at No 6. Meanwhile Steve Davison was trying to work out what to do with 42’ of mainsheet in his Laser Radial, while Tony Burnett went off for a blue crayon to colour in the corner of his full rig, hoping to fool others into thinking he too was in a Radial. Nice try. The second race turned into a close tussle between Henry and Your Correspondent, with only a couple of boat lengths difference as the hooter failed to sound but the second race ended. Meanwhile other leisure sailors were also enjoying the light breeze, including George in his new Topper Magnum (PI), Nathan, and Steve Hill – and hardly enough bare flesh in the boat park to scare the livestock!
Halifax Sailing Club has welcomed a landmark study by the Institute of Education at University College London (UCL), which highlights the positive impact of sailing on the lives of young people who get on the water through the grassroots RYA OnBoard programme.
Run by the Royal Yachting Association, OnBoard introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18 by connecting schools and youth groups with RYA clubs and training, offering low cost sessions promoting equal access to the sport from all social and economic backgrounds and encouraging character development.
The UCL report – ‘Children and Sailing: A research evaluation for the Royal Yachting Association and the Andrew Simpson Foundation’ – shows how OnBoard contributes to the development of life skills such as creativity, teamwork, determination, communication, independence and confidence. It also identifies how sailing and windsurfing correlate with benefits from physical activity generally and how RYA OnBoard plays an important role in tackling social injustice by providing unique experiences, which can help to develop self-confidence and open up further opportunities.
Halifax SC Chief Instructor Sue Lamb said: “We are very proud that we have our longstanding RYA OnBoard sailing. We are the highest sailing club in the country where the wind can sometimes nearly blow you away, and it’s wonderful to see a child progress from being a little scared of the great expanse of water to sailing a dinghy at speed with a new-found confidence, announcing that it was the fastest they had ever sailed and stayed upright!
“We have a brilliant team of voluntary instructors and helpers who come each Saturday from May to October to teach young people and their parents to sail, although due to Coronavirus we only restarted our OnBoard sessions three weeks ago at our ‘sister club’ Denholme SC, which is a smaller water and a little lower down so potentially has less wind. We look forward to next year when we can hopefully start to teach new young people at both venues – we already have a waiting list!”
One parent from Halifax SC commented that their daughter had benefited from learning to sail with the club and loved the variety of conditions: “From feeling exciting on really windy days to just playing in the water on calm days. She has developed a quiet confidence from her Saturday sailing which reflects the way in which the club smoothly taught her to sail on her own.’
Other venues offering RYA OnBoard in South Yorkshire include Pennine SC near Sheffield.
The full RYA OnBoard impact report can be read here. Researchers found:
· OnBoard sessions are enjoyed by almost all participants and engender feelings of fun and freedom
· The sessions contribute to a participant’s wider personal and social development. This included enhancing their social skills with both peers and adults; maturity; ability to accept responsibility and concentrate on tasks
· Participants felt more supported by their peers. They also felt more relaxed and confident in themselves following an OnBoard session
· OnBoard plays an important role in tackling social injustice. It provides unique experiences to those from disadvantaged backgrounds and can help to develop self-confidence and open up further opportunities.
· OnBoard sessions particularly develop the attributes of teamwork, communication and confidence.
Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, added: “Being on the water creates multiple situations where young people are challenged and tested as they learn a new activity. OnBoard provides a safe and proven structure for this to happen and a great environment to help them to develop the character attributes and capabilities that are so important for success in life.
“Most of the children and young people involved in the project had never sailed before, despite the sailing sites being located next to their own local communities. Teachers highlighted how there can be a perception around whom sailing is open to, but OnBoard gives students access to a type of experience they would not normally get in their everyday lives.”
A total of 371 young people (aged 8-17), from 19 schools and 14 sailing clubs or commercial sailing centres, completed before (baseline) and after (follow-up) questionnaires for the RYA OnBoard Impact Report. Additionally, 11 instructors, teachers and parents/carers were also interviewed by researchers.
Parents, young people and centres wanting to find out more about how to get involved with OnBoard are invited to visit www.rya.org.uk/go/onboard
When we arrived at Denholme it was so windy and gusty that we nearly cancelled the sailing session. Both Henry and myself were waving our windspeed indicators about. thinking perhaps it’s far too gusty to be safe. Luckily the wind died down a little and we decided to sail. Hannah sailed a Pico, Katie sailed a Topper, Harry and his Dad sailed a Zest and a friend of mine David from lots of years ago (when I worked at Denholme for Youth Services) sailed the other Zest. The wind was still gusting from all directions which made for fast sailing and fast reactions. Katie did a good job of lassoing a mark with her main sheet. We had to undo it from the Topper and still it would not come free from the buoy. Phil managed to eventually remove it from the buoy. It must have wrapped itself around the buoy about 3 times. We then had a pursuit race. Even I joined in. Harry did really well in not getting Dad too wet. Hannah found out what luffing is and Katie, after a few swims, did really well. Thanks to Phil and Nicola for Safety. Happy Sailing – Sue and Henry.
A Force 4 warm wind and sunshine was provided at Warley Moor reservoir for a day enjoyed by many club members.
Windsurfers were at the club in the morning, the usual impressive display of “vans” on show. The afternoon saw two more windsurfers take to the water (including new member Mike Coldwell) along with four dinghies for a pursuit race, won by Dave Walker in/on his Sprint15 catamaran followed by William Redman (Laser Radial), Henry Goodman (Laser) and Tim Holden (Contender).
Several other club members were in attendance making for a good club day, including the Cable family to whom thanks go for running the safety boat.
…well, in the form of ad hoc pursuit racing. Five boats, a safety/OD craft and a windsurfer braved the glorious sunny weather and between them arranged two pursuit races. With all present adhering to the latest Covid related conditions, experimental 1 hour and 30 minute pursuit races were held and thoroughly enjoyed by everybody returning to Sunday sailing at the club.
Even though the results did not count towards a series or get recorded, the competitive feeling between sailors was still there and hopefully, more boats will take advantage of a full reservoir for the remaining Sundays of the season.
Meanwhile, at the Denholme branch of Halifax SC, Saturday Sailors took to the water in a mixture of Toppers and RS Zests, looked after by Steve Davison in his inflatable safety boat.
As expected for the first time on the water in such a while, and in new boats, there were some capsizes with Katie managing one without getting wet!!. Thank you to club members and parents for their support. The fun resumes next Saturday, with the usual start time of 12.00